Welcoming the Muse

I just hit submit on Book #2 of the Clock Shop Mystery Series. What an interesting process that final push is. Reading and rereading. Moving things around, and then going in and making sure the timeline works. Exorcising the bad habits I have–starting sentences with “well”, sighing, and using conjunctions in odd ways are my top three. By no means are they they only ones.

Towards the end of the process, I leave it  for a couple of days, and then I read it through, as a reader. Not as the author. Without my editing hat. As a reader. Each time I do that with my own work, I always have a moment where I wonder aloud, where did that come from?

Sometimes I don’t remember writing a scene. Other times, more often, I will add a character, or a prop, or a reference that plays a role I didn’t anticipate when I wrote it.  Yet the use is really good, and adds a layer of complexity that thrills me. I take no credit for those flashes of brilliance. Instead, I am grateful that I was sitting down at my typewriter when the muse came by for a visit.

Elizabeth Gilbert first introduced this concept to me. It gives me faith in my process of plotting and then writing the book scene by scene. No matter how prepared I am, when Rina shows up, fully formed, let her in. She’s going to make it a better book, one that I didn’t expect.

Enjoy this TED Talk. May the muse visit you soon!

13 Thoughts

  1. Congratulations, Julie! Ah, yes, the muse. I’m working through my own revision process right now for a book due August 1, and the manuscript had a rest of about two months. Am discovering some muse moments of my own. I always love being surprised by stuff that flows through me and out my fingers onto the keyboard….[twenty minutes later] And that’s a brilliant TED talk, by the way!

  2. Don’t you love it when you don’t remember writing a scene and it was actually good? Congrats on finishing manuscript #2 and thanks for sharing such a thought-provoking video!

  3. I remember taking a writing course where we discussed the influence of “the muse”, like she was some sort of mythical and magical being. Of course it’s our own very special form of creativity that seems to pop up from the depths of our mind at the most convenient time or inconvenient time. The important thing is to grab onto it because it can be so very fleeting. I also have some very bad sentence habits. One of my worst habits is to use the word “just”. It brings me a measure of comfort to know that other writers struggle with that too. I’ve seen this Elizabeth Gilbert video before. Interesting!

  4. The muse is such an amazing gift and I’m always surprised on days when I least feel like writing but force myself to the computer, there she is telling me something new.

  5. Well, congrats on books 2. And I love it when things pop up that make things stronger. From hearing writer’s talk, I know that happens quite a bit.

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